How to plan for Google’s mobile-first ranking strategy

How to plan for Google’s mobile-first ranking strategy

Google is rolling out a change that will affect you and your website.

About 52% of global website traffic traveled through mobile phones – up from less than 1% just nine years ago. That is why Google is beginning to rank mobile websites ahead of desktop sites. And it is why you need to be fully mobile, too.

If your website is responsive — that is, it translates well to smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices — you may not have to change anything. If you don’t yet have a mobile site, it’s time to get one. Google will continue to rank your desktop-only site, but your ranking will likely trend down.

Why mobile-first?

Google is changing the rankings for its own benefit. With the explosion of websites generally, Google sought a new way to find and judge website content quickly. Its original method – finding a URL and then moving through each line and link of a site – is too slow when there are billions of sites.

Its new method allows it to gather information on APIs, a type of function on every site that gives direct access to volumes of content, including libraries and other troves of data that can be quickly gathered and analyzed.

What is a good site?

A highly ranked mobile site will load quickly. The photos and content will be easy to consume without pinching or expanding. The font will be readable – no fancy curls and large enough to read on a phone.

Your site needs a clean, uncluttered design that conveys your ideas quickly. Mobile-friendly copy is also important – for both your Google ranking and your visitors. Short sentences, easy-to-digest words and otherwise clear writing will help move people through your site.

And if you include pop-up content on your site, Google will penalize you.

Google has been talking about this change for more than a year, and the transition won’t be fully complete for another year or two.

Next steps

Google will notify you when it begins to rank your site for its mobile-first capabilities. If you monitor your traffic, and your site is mobile-friendly, you may begin to see more results from the mobile version of your site. If you don’t have a mobile site, or your mobile and desktop sites are not compatible, your rankings will probably begin to go down.

In this age of digital communication, you should be evaluating your sites a couple of times a year to make sure they are effective, clear and able to connect you with your audience. Now more than ever, your mobile site needs to be the best you can make it.

Have questions about your website? Schedule a meeting with Lauren to go over your site and discuss your options.